Road trips are a classic way to travel. You can make your own itinerary, determine where you stop and for how long, and they really give you a feel for the landscape you are passing through. I’ve done plenty of road tripping in my travels, including most of the routes in this post (the rest are on my travel bucket list!), and even worked as a road trip driver and guide in the USA. There are so many stunning stretches of road around the world with interesting things to see and do. I’ve chosen a few of my favorite multi-day (or multi-week!) vehicular treks that are truly some of the best in the world!
Pan American Highway
Argentina to Alaska
From the Arctic to the Antarctic, this is the world’s longest driving route crossing all of South, Central, and North America. Passing through every conceivable ecosystem & landscape along the way, this truly epic 48,000km journey is a once in a lifetime road trip!
The garden route is not just tranquil fields of cultivated flowers. The 300km stretch of route 62 from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth passes over 60 wineries through lots of gorgeous mountain, forest, and coastal scenery. There are hiking trails, cute seaside & colonial towns, adventure sport activities, wildlife parks, and a game reserve along this beautiful African drive. I have a soft spot for the Cape Dutch architecture of Stellenbosch, where I studied abroad during university.
North Coast 500
The newest route on this list, the NC 500 only opened in 2014. It was championed by Prince Charles to showcase the wild beauty of the Scottish coast. Beginning in Inverness, the NC500 travels 800km of incredible highland scenery featuring castles, glens, lochs, and, of course, bushy highland cows. I could spend months admiring the rugged scenery and ancient castles of Scotland, a top destination of mine, road trip or not!
South Island Circuit
New Zealand is one of my favorite countries in the world, and the South Island is the best of it. I did a working holiday in that fabulous country and took my time driving and hitchhiking all over. Circumnavigating the island, you pass so many varied landscapes, from forests and lakes to gorgeous coastline, to mountains, glaciers, and rainforests. Perhaps the best part is the out and back stretch from Te Anau to Milford Sound through Fiordland National Park – simply stunning!
London, England to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Another truly epic journey, many people do this road trip as a charity rally, raising money and perhaps donating their car at the end. You can choose whatever route you want and take as long as you want to span 15 countries and 2 continents. It typically takes 3-8 weeks to transverse England, France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia.
I drove this beautiful route on my scooter and loved it! This windy coastal road through Cape Breton, Nova Scotia features hilly forests, plenty of wildlife, and welcoming French & Scottish influence towns. Drive it in the autumn (late September/early October) for fantastic fall foliage colors!
The 1339km N1 Ring Road is a literal circular road around the entire island of Iceland. It is a very popular route and easily gets you to all the big attractions this unique country has to offer. Iceland can be expensive, so I took the budget option for this road trip and hitchhiked the entire route with a tent to camp along the way. Discover the mossy, alien landscape rife with waterfalls and don’t miss the lava fields and hot springs!
Pakistan to China
Karakoram is the highest paved highway in the world. It connects China to Pakistan over rugged mountain terrain. With epic scenery, from snowy peaks to gorges and rivers, there are also many examples of rock art along this route from as early as 1000BCE.
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